vendee-globe-2020-contenders-Charal-credit-Damien-Meyer-Getty-Images

Charal was one of the favourites going into the 2020 Vendée Globe, but suffered a major setback early on. Photo: Damien Meyer / Getty Images

Founded by French yachtsman Philippe Jeantot in 1989, the Vendée Globe is a single-handed non-stop round the world yacht race.

More people have been into space than have finished the Vendée, earning it the reputation as the world’s toughest sailing race.

Since 1992, the Vendée Globe has taken place every four years. The race sets off from its start / finish port of Les Sables d’Olonne, on the Atlantic coast of France, in November in order to avoid the worst of the Southern Ocean weather by sailing the Southern Ocean stage of the race in the Southern Hemisphere summer.

Who is racing in the 2024 Vendée Globe?

The 2020 Vendée Globe race, its ninth edition, was perhaps the most successful ever: it saw 33 entries, a record number of new foiling designs, and the lowest ever number of abandonments.

In previous editions of the Vendée Globe the attrition rate usually sees around 40% of skippers retire before completing the course. One skipper, Canadian Gerry Roufs, died attempting the race in 1997.

Previous winners include Francois Gabart, who also holds the solo around the world record, and Michel Desjoyeaux, the only man to win it twice. 

Usually the winner is the first sailor to cross the finish line. However, the winner of the 2020 race, Yannick Bestaven was awarded time redress for his part in the rescue of fellow Vendée sailor Kevin Escoffier which saw him awarded first place.

Entries opened for the 2024 Vendée Globe in February 2022 and will remain open until October 2023. 

The initial notice of race for the next Vendée Globe allows a record entry of 40 boats to complete. The 2024 race is likely to be oversubscribed, with keen competition in the qualifying races. The rules prohibit older IMOCA 60s from competing with 2008 generation boats being the oldest allowed.

Purchasing an ‘old’ IMOCA 60 has long been a way into the event for the skippers with lower funding levels than the ‘premiere’ teams who are looking to build a latest generation IMOCA 60. However, when Yannick Bestaven won the 2020 event on Maître CoQ, a 2016 generation foiler, it fuelled the values of recent IMOCA 60s that are tried and tested, competitive and ready to fine-tune right away.

At the start of 2022 55 skippers had indicated their intention to compete in the event, though the initial list is usually whittled down over time as sailors struggle to find adequate funding or complete the qualification miles. 

As such there are many from that list who will not be able to enter the event. But there are also several sailors who have already confirmed their funding with a sponsor, and / or have a new boat in build, all of whom are very likely to be on the startline. 

The most likely 2024 Vendée Globe entrants so far include:

Sailor – Sponsor / Boat Name – Designer (year launched)

Antoine Cornic (FRA) – TBC – Owen-Clarke (2008)
Isabelle Joschke (FRA) – TBC – VPLP – Verdier (2008)
Manuel Cousin (FRA) – Groupe Sétin – Farr (2008)
Romain Attanasio (FRA) – Fortis-Best Western – VPLP – Verdier (2016)
Pip Hare (GBR) – Medallia – VPLP – Verdier (2016)
Benjamin Dutreux (FRA) – TBC – VPLP – Verdier (2016)
Damien Seguin (FRA) – Group Apecil – VPLP – Verdier (2016)
Fabrice Amedeo (FRA) – Newrest – Art & Fenêtres – VPLP – Verdier (2016)
Alan Roura (SUI) – TBC – VPLP – Pete Hobson (2020)
Clarisse Crémer (FRA) – Banque Populaire XII – Guillaume Verdier (2020)
Kojiro Shiraishi (JPN) – DMG Mori Global One – VPLP (2020)
Armel Tripon (FRA) – TBC – VPLP (New)
Boris Herrmann (GER) – Team Malizia – VPLP (New)
Charlie Dalin (FRA) – Apivia – Guillaume Verdier (New)
Jérémie Beyou (FRA) – Charal – Sam Manuard (New)
Kevin Escoffier (FRA) – PRB – Guillaume Verdier (New)
Samantha Davies (GBR) – Initiatives-Cœur – Sam Manuard (New)
Maxime Sorel (FRA) – V&B, Monbana, Mayenne – Guillaume Verdier (New)
Yannick Bestaven (FRA) – Maitre Coq V – Guillaume Verdier (New)
Yoann Richomme (FRA) – Arkea Paprec – Antoine Koch / Finot Conq (New)
Thomas Ruyant (FRA) – TBC – Antoine Koch (New)

What is the route for the 2024 Vendée Globe?

After departing from Les Sables d’Olonne on 10 November, the racers sail across the Atlantic and head south along the east coast of South America to avoid the South Atlantic High.

Upon entering the Southern Ocean, they will head east past the Cape of Good Hope and Australia’s Cape Leeuwin before sailing across the Pacific and rounding Cape Horn.

A final return journey back up the Atlantic follows Cape Horn as the sailors make their way to the finish off Sables d’Olonne. 

Follow the links below to read all the latest Vendée Globe news, features and analysis right here on yachtingworld.com

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